Dear Trump Voter,
I can’t say that I know why you voted for Trump, but I have a pretty good idea, and I get it. I’m not saying I voted for him, but I see that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to vote for Trump. Sure, he’s not the best role model, but you’re not really voting for him, you’re voting for the party. You’re voting for a conservative, Republican administration. You’re concerned about economics, foreign affairs, and the direction of the Supreme Court, and you think a Republican administration can do a better job. That is completely legitimate. That is democracy.
Now that the election is over, you kind of wish everyone could move on. I mean, we can all agree it’s been a particularly stressful election cycle. The Democratic candidate lost and you think everyone needs to move forward. You might even think your Democrat friends on Facebook are being a little dramatic using words like “grief” to describe their feelings.
Let me be clear, I am not grieving because my candidate lost. I am not a sore loser. This is not about political partisanship. I believe in democracy, and respect the results of the election. I will call him President Trump and recognize him as my president. And if it were John McCain or Mitt Romney, I would be all for moving forward. My grief is about something different than my team losing or winning.
If you voted for Trump, you accomplished all of the things I mentioned above. But, it is important to acknowledge that you may have accidentally done something more.
Wednesday, on Baylor’s campus, a black student named Natasha was pushed off of the sidewalk by a man saying, “No n*****s allowed on the sidewalk!” A student behind her challenged the attacker, asking, “What are you doing?” to which the attacker said, “I’m just trying to make America great again!”
(Read more about it and hear her account here: http://www.kxxv.com/story/33682530/baylor-responds-to-students-account-of-racially-offensive-confrontation)
In response, we gathered this morning with a large crowd on Baylor’s campus to walk with Natasha between classes. We wanted to remind her that she was a beloved child of God and to send a message to the campus that hate speech is unacceptable. As we walked, I talked with a professor who articulated something I hadn’t yet put into words. She pointed out that a vote for Trump was a legitimization of hate speech. Whatever else it did, it gave hope to hate groups across the nation. Nobody got to carefully nuance their vote, there was no comment section on a ballot to explain why you voted for your candidate. All people got to do was vote for a man, and the man won.
So whether you intended it or not, whatever your legitimate intentions, Trump’s election sent the message that it is okay to say misogynistic, racist, hateful things, and to do misogynistic, racist, hateful things. The Klan endorsed Trump, and they won. That is what I am grieving, and whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you should be grieving that too.
Please don’t be defensive. I am not calling you misogynistic, racist, or hateful. I know this wasn’t your intent when you voted for Trump. I know you’re a good person, but being a good person now means fighting this thing that you had some hand in bringing about. It is now your inescapable responsibility to stand up against hate speech in all forms. While you got what you wanted and conservative Republicans are in control, you also stoked a flame you didn’t mean to stoke, and it is your duty to quench it. That is the only way to really make your vote what you meant for it to be.
Your fellow American,
[Photo taken from: http://baylorlariat.com/2016/11/11/students-faculty-and-staff-walk-in-solidarity-with-student/]